Sour Apples

Apple's reincarnation has been utterly amazing!

The computer giant has achieved enormous wealth despite being counted for dead in the late 1990s. It now stands as one of the most innovative and richest corporations in the world after the return of the legendary Steve Jobs.

Apple was, and is, the poster child for capitalism -- a success story that eclipses all others.

But Apple's image is beginning to tarnish!

Problems at FoxConn regarding inhumane labor practices, tax machinations, though legal, that helps Apple avoid or delay U.S. taxes, and the continuing practice of manufacturing their popular products outside the U.S. is beginning to weigh on Apple's image.

Apple may become the symbol for the patriotic indifference of American corporations.

Corporations, like Apple, are hoarding money at home, and accumulating profits overseas that are not taxed until repatriated to the States.

It's now estimated that U.S. corporations are currently holding from $1.7 trillion to as much as $2 trillion in overseas accounts and that Apple has $102 billion sitting -- untaxed -- overseas. Only GE, who benefits greatly from a skewed U.S. tax code, has more overseas at $108 billion.

If U.S. corporations brought that money back at the lawful tax rate of 35% the deficit could be reduced by $700 billion. The 35% rate is unrealistic but what is fair for both the corporations and the country? Fairness must be a two-way street.

The question for Apple, as well as for all other American multi-national corporations, how deep is your patriotism?

Apple is in a unique position. They can choose to become a good corporate citizen -- and an example of patriotism -- leading the way for other corporations. Or they can continue to be like many other corporations --those who shun any obligation for helping America survive despite receiving all the benefits doing business in this great country offers.

What can Apple do to help the country?

There are numerous things Apple can do to lead the country back to a more sustainable growth, each improving our economy and society as a whole.

Instead of lobbying Congress for unrealistic tax breaks for repatriation, Apple could help develop a healthy and fair process by working with Senator Kay Hagan to create an equitable resolution to the repatriation of American multi-national corporations' foreign profits. No corporation should be allowed to bring profit back at a tax rate lower than the average American taxpayer pays.

The tax holiday rate being proposed by Senator Hagan -- 8.75%/5.75 to repatriate $2 trillion -- is not only unrealistic and unfair but an insult to every taxpayer in the country.

After over a decade of shirking their tax burden by paying extremely low effective tax rates -- an average of 12.1% in 2012 -- these corporations, after the debacle in 2004, have the balls to ask for another low rate to bring back foreign profits. Congress gave them a break at 5% in The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 coupled with their promise to create jobs. Instead many of these giant corporations shed thousands of jobs over the next year, enriched investors, and gave huge bonuses to executives, while benefitting from this inequitable low tax gift.

They expect Congress to cave again despite our ballooning deficit, a faltering education, the economy sputtering, more Americans falling into poverty, our infrastructure crumbling, and extreme weather events escalating.

In the scheme of things, Apple can change all that. They can be a leader by doing the right thing rather than the best thing.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, testified at a recent Congressional hearing "we pay all the taxes we owe -- every single dollar."

We can't fault Apple for doing the things the law allows. That is the fault of our inept Congress. But we can question their unwillingness to help the country when they can see things failing all around them. They can restore a level of patriotism that has long faded in light of burgeoning predatory capitalism and corporatocracy.

And we can surely research what part Apple may have played in the creation and passage of these unfair tax laws.

They can begin with repatriation. They can bring part of their manufacturing back to the United States helping several smaller tech corporations in our country provide good middle-class jobs (more people that can afford their product). And they could, for the next few years, afford to make a 45% profit margin instead of 49% on their highly popular devices until the nation's economy has improved.

What the country needs right now is for Tim Cook to step forward -- step up -- and announce Apple's intention to lead the way in bringing America back to the greatness that was once admired around the world.

There's a fine line between patriotism and capitalism and Apple has an opportunity to redefine that line for us.

It's time to find out whether Mr. Cook's testimony regarding tax reform was honest or just more corporate lip service.

The American people are tired of receiving nothing but Sour Apples!